News Column

Concern over incentives

July 21, 2014

By Komsan Tortermvasana, Bangkok Post, Thailand

July 21--The Trade Negotiations Department has asked the national telecom regulator to scrap fee reductions to mobile companies using locally made telecommunications equipment, saying they risk violating global trade agreements.

The department expressed concern the regulation governing the incentives could be in violation of the World Trade Organization's rules and against the Board of Investment's investment policies, said Jesada Sivaraks, secretary to the vice-chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The department last month sent a letter expressing concern over the issue, he said, adding the regulator would collect more details before submitting the issue to its telecom committee for consideration.

Two years ago, the NBTC provided incentives to telecom companies by lowering licence fees for operators who use locally made equipment to build their 3G or 4G network infrastructure.

The fee is lowered from 1.5% to 1% of annual revenue if they are qualified for incentives.

The department suggested the incentives might be in violation of the world's free-trade rules, said Mr Jesada.

It also said the incentives were not in compliance with the Board of Investment's policy to promote other countries to invest in Thailand, including Chinese fibre optic makers to serve rapidly growing demand from the local telecom and information technology sectors.

All 3G mobile operators are subject to an annual fee of 5.25% of revenue to the NBTC ? 3.75% for the universal service obligation and 1.5% for the licence fee.

Thailand has three 3G mobile operators providing service on the 2100-megahertz spectrum ? Advanced Wireless Network, the 3G arm of Advanced Info Service; DTAC Network, a subsidiary of Total Access Communication; and Real Future, a unit of True Corporation.


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Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)

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